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Theater Review: Quite A Spectacle In Sherman’s Presentation Of The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical

Published: July 14, 2017

SHERMAN — There is quite a spectacle on full psychedelic display at Sherman Playhouse’s summer production of Hair, with book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, and rockin’ music by Galt Macdermot. Under the skillful direction Francis A. Daley, this gritty love-in still has the power to transport the audience through a time warp to an era of rebellion and rejoicing.

Denizens of the streets of New York, this cabal of hippies in the 1960s live in low rent districts. Sharing their bodies and souls, desires and drugs, they act in unison, most of the time.

The story revolves around one Claude Hooper Bukowski, played by Joseph Devellis, who claims to be from Manchester, England, because the accent is super cool, yet in fact he hails from the outer boroughs of New York City. He is conflicted, struggling relentlessly with his conscience as he is goaded to burn his draft card, yet compelled by his sense of duty.

His counterpart, Berger (Ray Cook), is a one man hippie version of a rager. He claims a purpose in his defiance, yet his love (in bubble letters), does not translate to one of intimacy.

The entire cadre is devoted to an alternate lifestyle anchored in revolt against the establishment, government, and the war in Vietnam. Theirs is a unified movement founded on loose living, substance abuse, and a belief that there is something mystical, magical, and better than the bourgeois lifestyle of their elders.

Supported by a score of now iconic songs, this musical is moving and entertaining. The music is just fabulous; toe tapping and hand clapping is reflexive and encouraged.

The cast is wonderfully energetic. These parts are challenging in that they require a display of total abandon and yet complete commitment by the actors.

A stellar performance is given by the exceptionally talented Mr Devellis in his role as Claude, who is more conscientious than objector. He is sweet, sharp, funny, and deadly serious.

Shea Coughlin as Chrissy is simply wonderful. Throughout the play, her intensity is intact. Her rendition of “Frank Mills” is adorable.

Playing Hud, Santiago DeGante is exciting to watch. His verve and pace make his every move appear to defy gravity.

As Sheila, Alyssa Serrambana lends a gorgeous voice to the painful ballad “Easy to be Hard.”

Rounding out the rest of Sherman’s talented and enthusiastic cast are Jerusha Wright, Gabriela Jimenez, Austin Wayne, Maya Daley, Lexic Barradaz, Jessica Gleeson, Michelle Wetherbee and Alex Gleason. To a one they sing like angels as they cavort, couple, and egg each other on like true flower children.

When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars; you don’t want to miss it.

Performances continue weekends through July 29, with curtain Thursday through Saturday at 8 pm and Sundays at 2.

For ticket information, reservations and additional information, call 860-354-3622 or visit shermanplayers.org.

 

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